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Lawton Oklahoma Personal Injury Law Blog

Many men do not benefit from early prostate cancer surgery

A study of prostate cancer patients has shown that for most men with early-stage, non-aggressive prostate cancer are unlikely to benefit from surgery. In some cases, Oklahoma men with this type of prostate cancer have actually experienced worsened medical conditions following the surgery due to side effects like erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.

Most men with early-stage, low-risk prostate cancer who went through surgery showed no significant benefit. However, the side effects could have a radical impact on quality of life. No more than one of 100 men with this type of cancer who received major surgery was saved by the procedure. The quantity was statistically insignificant in assessing outcomes.

Three cars get top rating from IIHS

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has added three vehicles to its list of the highest rated in terms of crash safety. Oklahoma drivers who are shopping for full-size cars may therefore want to consider the Toyota Avalon, Mercedes-Benz E-Class or the Lincoln Continental. Each of these cars received Top Safety Pick Plus designations from the IIHS.

The Ford Taurus, Chevrolet Impala and Tesla Model S were also tested, but, according to an IIHS vice president, failed to perform at the top-level on the small overlap test. The IIHS began using the test in 2012 to simulate a front driver-side collision with a telephone pole or tree. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously spoken openly about his desire to make Tesla vehicles safe.

Ovarian cancer myths

Oklahoma women may have heard that talc products can cause ovarian cancer, but there is no scientific consensus that this is the case. Furthermore, a family history of ovarian cancer does not mean that a person will get cancer. On the other hand, people should not think that if they do not have this family history that they are safe from ovarian cancer.

Another misconception about ovarian cancer is that it can be caught with a Pap smear, but these tests screen for cervical cancer just as the HPV vaccine protects against cervical cancer and not ovarian. The tests for ovarian cancer that do exist are not very reliable, but others are in development that are expected to work better. A healthy diet, regular exercise, hormonal birth control and a hysterectomy all may lower the risk of ovarian cancer. It is not known what causes the disease although genetics and environment may be among the factors. Ovarian cysts rarely cause cancer.

Failure to diagnose illness causes catastrophic results

A failure to diagnose an illness or disease can be a major issue in medical malpractice cases in Oklahoma and across the country. In a Missouri case decided earlier in 2017, a clinic was ordered to provide nearly $29 million in compensation after its practitioners failed to diagnose a patient's Wilson's disease.

Wilson's disease is a rare disorder in which a timely diagnosis can make a significant difference in outcomes. The genetic disorder causes a buildup of copper in the body's vital organs, especially the liver and the brain. This buildup can cause permanent brain damage and neurological disorders.

Oklahoma a hot spot for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Transmitted by tick bites, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a disease that is difficult to diagnose and is potentially fatal. The bacterium Rickettsia rickettsia causes the disease in humans bitten by ticks carrying the infection. Infections emerge throughout North and South America, and cases are especially prevalent in Oklahoma and neighboring states. Three species of ticks, the American Dog tick, the Rocky Mountain Wood tick and the Brown Dog tick, carry the bacterium.

The condition starts with a headache and fever, and these vague symptoms could prevent physicians from quickly recognizing the serious infection unless they are alerted to a tick bite. People, however, might not realize that a tick had bitten them. Physicians often must rely on their own judgment when diagnosing the disease in the early stages because a blood test cannot detect the infection until at least seven days after exposure.

New truck driver training starting in 2020

For truck drivers in Oklahoma and around the country who receive their commercial driver's licenses on or after Feb. 7, 2020, a new training rule will be in place. The rule took effect on June 5, but it allows almost three years before compliance is necessary. It was delayed for five months by an ordered regulatory review from the Trump administration.

Applicants will be required to get their training from a registry of trainers approved and maintained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The FMCSA will ensure that the trainers meet its standards and will certify them. The rule also sets up a core curriculum for applicants and a behind-the-wheel training requirement.

Seat belt use a key factor in fatal accidents involving children

Motorists on Oklahoma roads are required to ensure that all of their child passengers are securely restrained by safety belts, harnesses or child seats, but figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggest that law enforcement may not be doing enough to enforce this. Data from the agency's Fatality Analysis Reporting System was used by researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Harvard University to study fatal accidents involving children under the age of 15, and they found that strict seat belt laws and rigorous enforcement efforts play a crucial role in reducing child mortality rates.

According to the FARS data, 20 percent of the children killed in automobile accidents between 2010 and 2014 were not wearing seat belts or were inadequately restrained when the vehicles they were traveling in crashed. After studying the figures, the researchers concluded that child fatalities could be reduced by as much as 40 percent if seat belt use increased by just 10 percent. The study also reveals that the roads in Southern states are particularly dangerous for young passengers. While the child mortality rate for the nation as a whole was .94 per 100,000 children according to the report, that figure more than doubled to 2.02 in Oklahoma.

Understanding strokes

The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than 130,000 people throughout Oklahoma and the rest nation die from strokes each year. This is the equivalent to one out of every 20 U.S. deaths in the nation being attributed to a stroke.

While not every stroke kills, they can result in a number of permanent disabilities. Common risks factors for strokes include high cholesterol, advanced age, smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes. Heart complications, such as heart valve disease and atrial fibrillation, can also contribute to a stroke. Two-thirds of people in the United States have at least one of the behaviors or conditions that can lead to a stroke.

High rate of misdiagnosis among multiple sclerosis patients

Treatment advances may have improved outcomes for Oklahoma patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, but a 2017 survey found that many still have a trouble wading through multiple false diagnoses and finding doctors who understand the disease. The three-month survey, which was taken by patients online, identified common symptoms and problems experienced in the community.

Misdiagnosis was listed by 42 percent of the survey respondents. They were most commonly diagnosed with and treated for chronic fatigue, depression and fibromyalgia. Part of the problem causing such a high rate of misdiagnosesis that neurological symptoms can be difficult to track with biological markers. For instance, some of the most common symptoms reported were fatigue, numbness, brain fog and muscle weakness.

Virtual second opinion services could help patients

When Oklahoma patients seek treatment for their medical problems, they could face the risk of experiencing diagnostic errors. Even if the errors end up not being harmful, they can be costly and lead to unnecessary treatments. One way to reduce the rate of diagnostic errors is to get second opinions.

However, getting a second opinion can be difficult. As a workaround, some health insurance companies and employers are partnering with companies that utilize second-opinion services. Essentially, a physician virtually meets with patients to collect all of the relevant documentation and test results. The physician then puts together a case summary. The case summary and documentation can then be sent to different specialists depending on their expertise.

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